PLANS to open up new stretches of Somerset’s coastline to walkers could provide a major tourism boost, say council bosses.

The Government has given the goahead to add 90kms of coastline between Brean Down and Minehead to the England Coast Path, meaning walkers will have access rights to previously cut-off beaches, cliffs and other areas.

The announcement follows work by Somerset County Council, Natural England and land owners.

Cllr Harvey Siggs, Somerset County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “This move will unlock the beautiful Somerset coastline to visitors from all over the country as well local residents and international tourists and we look forward to the economic benefit that it will bring to the county.

“We’ve been working closely with land owners and Natural England to make sure development of the Somerset section of the England Coast Path is managed as sensitively as possible and complements surrounding areas.”

The council’s rights of way team will now lead the work to prepare the stretch of coast path for public use.